Coronavirus: Virginia woman charged for gun threat at school board meeting

A Virginia woman is accused of telling school board members that she would “bring every single gun loaded” if her children have to wear masks at school, authorities said.

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Amelia Ruffner King, 42, of Luray, was charged with making an oral threat while on school property, a Class 1 misdemeanor, the Luray Police Department said in a news release. She was later released after posting $5,000 bail, police said.

King was one of four people who spoke at a public comment session during a meeting of the Page County School Board on Thursday, The Washington Post reported. Board members were discussing Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order to make masks optional, and King was one of the three people who spoke out against a mask mandate, the newspaper reported.

The woman said she had decided not to prepare a written statement for the session, which was recorded on video and posted to YouTube. As her allotted time ended, King said that “when I go off the cuff, I get really passionate.”

“We need to think as a collective county, we don’t need to worry about what Richmond has to say,” King said. “And there’s a lot of science, there’s a lot of good science, you know, the mask protects the person that’s wearing it.”

When a school official told King that her time was up, she added a final comment.

“My children will not come to school on Monday with a mask on,” King told board members. “That’s not happening, and I will bring every single gun loaded and ready to, I will call every --”

A board member again told King that her time to speak had ended, the Daily News-Record of Harrisonburg reported.

“Mm-hm. I’ll see y’all on Monday,” King said, leaving the room.

School officials contacted police, who launched an investigation, the Post reported. King was charged on Friday, according to the newspaper.

A spokesperson for Youngkin said the governor does not condone violence or threats of any kind, WHSV-TV reported.

King later emailed the school board apologizing for her actions. Her statement was read during the meeting, the Daily News-Record reported.

“I in no way meant to imply ‘all guns loaded’ as in actual firearms, but rather all resources I can muster to make sure that my children get to attend school without masks,” King said in her statement. “My sincere apologies for my poor choice in words.”

The school board voted 4-2 to approve the “parent choice,” optional mask-wearing, the Daily News-Record reported. That goes into effect on Monday, according to the newspaper.

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